After reading the article, “The Real Value of Strategic Planning,” by Kaplan and Beinhocker, two things struck a chord with me. One, I have been a part of strategic planning and can relate to the process feeling like a primitive tribal ritual. In my experience, the person leading these efforts seemed like they were going through this process just to do it while the members of the team collectively were disengaged and realized it was nothing would come out of this process but wasted time and resources. Second, as the authors state, strategic planning should be a learning tool to create prepared minds. Currently, we are in a state of flux as to who we will report to within our organization. We have been reporting to the same person for nearly a decade but now we may be reporting to someone who hasn’t even been hired. Not only will we report to a new person but we will fall under a different division. As such, my director is scrambling to come up with metrics, accomplishments, etc. to show our value to this new person. Why the scramble? Perhaps if we had used our strategic plan to prepare ourselves, we would not be in this position. For years, we had heard rumors that we would be shifting to this new division, yet nothing in our strategic planning was done to prepare for this shift.
From “Building Your Company’s Vision,” by Collins and Porras, I gained a tool that I would like to use for our staff. Currently, I think we are misaligned in our core purpose. The “five whys” exercise would be useful. We deliver a service, but I don’t think we all agree on why we deliver that service. By coming to a consensus on why we deliver that service, perhaps we can adjust the way we deliver it that is more beneficial to the customer. Another takeaway from this article is that I have been frustrated at times by wanting to change things to meet with our core ideology. As stated by the authors, “Once you are clear about the core ideology, you should feel free to change absolutely anything that is not part of it.” Moving forward, if I can demonstrate that the change proposed is to move us away from our core ideology, perhaps the receiver of this message will be more adept to change.